Monday, February 21, 2011

Shallow talent pool

Comment by Jugjet Singh

GOOD hockey players are a dying breed in Malaysia — as they say “figures do not lie, while liars do not figure” and that says it all.

Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) statistics for both the Premier Division and Division One spells it out boldly that if there was no infusion of foreign players, the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) would have been a two-horse affair after the first round.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Tenaga Nasional finished 1-2 respectively after they had signed the lion’s share of national players.
KLHC also had two good buys in former national players Ismail Abu (10 goals) and Chua Boon Huat (13) who contributed 23 out of their 72 total.
They also had national No 2 penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim to thank as his 20 goals virtually sealed the title for them.
Tenaga Nasional, who scored a total of 46 goals, relied heavily on national No 1 penalty corner flicker Amin Rahim who scored 17. National player Faizal Saari was the next best for TNB, with nine goals.
With the local goal-scoring machines booked, that left teams like Sapura, UniKL, Yayasan Negri Sembilan and Nur Insafi with no choice but to source for import players as the leftovers were either over the hill, or making their debut in the MHL.
And that was the major grouse of almost all MHL coaches as they know that the situation will be the same next season.
The scene in Division One is worse and can be likened to a ‘B’ Grade movie, as Army Juniors are just an average team but managed to win the League title without a single defeat but it came with a heavy price. They must play Tenaga Nasional in the quarter-finals.
One does not need to be Nostradamus to predict that it is going to be a lop-sided match with TNB having a heavy advantage.
The second spot in Division One is a toss between the Bukit Jalil and Bandar Penawar sports schools in the last fixtures on Friday, but joy will be short-lived as the winners must play KLHC in the last eight — where nothing but a drubbing awaits the school boys.
UiTM and Armed Forces-Airod, who gained promotion last season, find themselves back in Division One for next year after finishing eighth and ninth respectively in their Premier debut.
And the two teams who will be promoted next year, will again face a torrid time in the Premier Division as nothing but defeats and relegation await them as there will again be insufficient good local talent for them to form decent sides.
The future of the MHL is predictable, as figures do not lie.